Brooks Jensen Arts

Every Picture Is a Compromise

Lessons from the Also-rans

Most photography websites show the photographer's very best work. Wonderful. But that's not the full story of a creative life. If we want to learn, we'd better pay attention to the images that aren't "greatest hits" and see what lessons they have to offer. Every picture is a compromise — the sum of its parts, optical, technical, visual, emotional, and even cosmic – well, maybe not cosmic, but sometimes spiritual. Success on all fronts is rare. It's ok to learn from those that are not our best.

This is a series about my also-rans, some of which I've been able to improve at bit (i.e., "best effort"), none of which I would consider my best. With each there are lessons worth sharing, so I will.

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What I saw that I liked:

I've mentioned that I don't naturally see in ultra-wide, so I was quite proud of myself for seeing this composition in the field.

What I don't like in the picture:

No payoff.

What I learned:

In these ultra-wide compositions, when our eye traverses the image from the near to the far (in this case, down the tree trunk), at the end there had better be something to reward us. But there isn't. In fact, at the far point of focus is just confusion.

2nd Chances: What I might try next

Would black-and-white help? Nope. It's worse.